Air frying frozen foods is the best way to cook it for the best taste & texture. And no cooking method is as quick, easy and non-messy. Learn how to cook any frozen food in the air fryer, and have it tasting great in no time!
Since I got my air fryer I'm not cooking frozen foods any other way. I love how quick it is, the great results, and the super easy cleanup.
Why the Air Fryer is Great for Cooking Frozen Foods
- It's quick, much quicker than baking in the oven
- It's easy, at least as easy as any other cooking method
- Not greasy as deep fat frying can be, since we use soo much less oil!
- Great texture thanks to the circulating air - it crisps everything up on all sides
- Great taste thanks to the even cooking and the added crispiness
- Healthier since you need much less oil than for other methods - you could even skip it entirely!
- Super simple clean up - no oil to get rid off, no parchment paper to throw away, no pan to clean... and most air fryer baskets you can just throw in the dishwasher!
General Process & How-To
When air frying frozen foods, you just need to follow one general process. There are a few decisions to make along the way, and below I will walk you through all of them.
For more tips and tricks on how to get started using your air fryer, go to my Air Fryer Get Started Guide.
Do I need to defrost my food before air frying?
No, you should generally never thaw frozen pre-cooked food you want to cook in an air fryer. Cook itstraight from frozen for best results.
Should I add oil?
I recommend addind a little bit of oil for almost all foods, as I find it helps with the crisp and that perfect golden color.
- For most frozen foods, I recommend adding a small amount of oil
- Instead of oil, you can also use cooking spray
- Oil helps give the food a nice golden color
- Too much oil can make the food soggy instead of crispy
Choosing the right temperature
The temperature you choose can make a big difference, here are some tips to help guide you.
- In general, go a step below what you would use in the oven. The recommended oven temperature for frozen foods will usually be stated on the bag.
- If the bag says 400°F (200°C), go for 350°F (180°C)
- If the bag says 450°F (225°C), go for 400°F (200°C)
- For frozen foods filled with cheese, like mozzarella sticks or chili cheese nuggets, keep it at 350°F (180°C) to avoid the cheese leaking out
Should I preheat the air fryer?
I always recommend preheating your air fryer, if this is not explicitly recommended against for your specific model. Starting out with the right temperature will help cook your food quicker and more evenly.
How much can I cook at the same time?
You don't want to overcrowd your air fryer, as this will affect the result negatively.
- For a super crispy result, always cook in a single layer
- Fries, potato wedges, veggies, etc. can overlap, but you should still not fill your air fryer basket more than halfway - the less overlap, the crispier the result!
- Steaks, chicken, spring rolls, dumplings and similar should be cooked in a single layer
How long do I cook frozen food in an air fryer?
A great thing about the air fryer is that it's so easy to check on your food while it's cooking. So you can start with an idea of the time, and then adjust as you go.
As with the temperature, the bag your food came in will give you a good starting point, adjusted as follows:
- Generally, the food will cook in about half of the time it would in the oven
- A smaller air fryer, will cook the food quicker
Do I need to flip or mix the food?
Despite the air fryer circulating the air I find you get the best results when you flip, mix, or shake your food at least once halfway.
When is it done?
How you decide when your food is done depends on what type of food you are cooking. Regardless, the easiest way to check for doneness is to use a meat thermometer.
If you don't have one, cut into the food an check that it is adequately hot and/or cooked all the way through.
- Pre-cooked and ready-to-eat frozen foods should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). This includes leftovers and casseroles.
- Food cooked from raw - like steak or chicken - needs to be cooked to the same internal temperature as with other cooking methods. The US FDA recommends the following internal temperatures:
- Poultry (chicken / turkey): 165°F (74°C)
- Beef, pork, veal and lamb (chops, roasts & steaks): 145°F (63°C)
- Ground meat: 160°F (71°C)
- Shrimp: pearly and opaque flesh
What frozen foods are good in air fryer?
I have yet to find a frozen food that is not great cooked in the air fryer! Some of the best frozen foods to cook in your air fryer include:
For more answers to all your Air Fryer questions, check out my extensive Air Fryer FAQ.
Yes, you can absolutely cook frozen meat straight from frozen in your air fyer.
No, you can cook chicken straight from frozen in the air fryer, but it will take longer than cooking it after thawing.
Yes, you can! Just make sure the container is safe for the oven (this means it will be fine in the air fryer as well) and that it fits inside. If not, you can move it to another oven safe dish that fits.
Yes, compared to the oven frozen food does cook faster in an air fryer.
Specific Cook Times & Temperatures
Below you will find cook times and temperatures for common frozen foods. For most of these, you can click the link to go to a full guide to cooking this specific food - complete with tips & tricks.
Side Dishes & Veggies
- French Fries: 12-14 minutes at 390°F (200°C)
- Crinkle Fries: 12-14 minutes at 390°F (200°C)
- Sweet Potato Fries: 12-14 minutes at 390°F (200°C)
- Curly Fries: 12-14 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Waffle Fries: 12-15 minutes at 390°F (200°C)
- Green Beans: 4 minutes at 390°F (200°C)
- Broccoli: 6-8 minutes at 390°F (200°C)
- Cauliflower: 8-10 minutes at 390°F (200°C)
Beef & Pork
- Steak: 10-15 minutes at 390°F (200°C)
- Bacon: 7-9 minutes at 390°F (200°C)
- Meatballs: 6 minutes at 350°F (180°C)
- Burgers: 5-10 minutes (depending on thickness) at 400°F (200°C) + 5 minutes resting
- Sausages: 12-14 minutes at 390°F (200°C) for thin sausages and 360°F (180°C) (thick sausages)
- Hot Dogs: 8-10 minutes at 390°F (200°C)
Chicken & Turkey
- Boneless Chicken Wings (raw): 15 minutes at 350°F (180°C) to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C)
- Chicken Breasts (raw): 25-30 minutes at 390°F (200°C) to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C)
- Chicken Patties: 16-18 minutes at 360°F (180°C)
- Chicken Nuggets (pre-cooked): 8 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Chicken Fries: 4 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Chicken Wings (pre-cooked): 10-15 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Chicken Wings (raw): 12-17 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Chicken Tenders (raw): 10 minutes at 390°F (200°C)
- Chicken Cordon Bleu: 10-15 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Fried Chicken Wings: 12-14 minutes at 360°F (180°C)
- Fried Chicken Drumsticks: 16-20 minutes at 360°F (180°C)
- Fried Chicken Breasts: 25-30 minutes at 360°F (180°C)
- Turkey Burgers: 9 minutes (can vary depending on thickness and type) at 360°F (180°C)
Fish & Seafood
- Fish Sticks: 8 minutes at 390°F (200°C) (no oil!)
- Shrimp (pre-cooked): 4-6 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Salmon: 12-15 minutes at 360°F (180°C)
Vegan & Vegetarian
- Veggie Burgers: 10-12 minutes (depending on thickness and type) at 400°F (200°C)
Snacks & Appetizers
- Chili Cheese Nuggets: 5 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Dumplings & Potstickers: 6-8 minutes at 350°F (180°C)
- Egg Rolls: 12 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Hot Pockets: 13 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Mozzarella Sticks: 4 minutes at 350°F (180°C)
- Onion Rings: 6-9 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Pizza: 5-7 minutes (thin crust) or 10-15 minutes (thick crust) at 400°F (200°C)
- Spring Rolls: 8 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
- Garlic Bread: 12 minutes at 360°F (180°C
- Jalapeño Poppers: 6-8 minutes at 400°F (200°C)
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